H1N1 FLU BREAKING News: Vaccine donations, surpluses, and loans, Indian city needs masks, RI hospital outbreak, LA cab drivers get shots

Jan 6, 2010

WHO says demand for donated vaccine may drop
Developing countries in line to receive donated H1N1 vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) may not want as much as the agency has been aiming to provide, the Canadian Press reported today. The WHO hoped to provide enough for 10% of the population of countries that wanted the vaccine, but the agency's Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny said that with the pandemic waning, governments are "considering whether and how much vaccine they want to deploy."

Vaccine surplus issues surface in Australia, Ireland
Australia has used only about a quarter of the pandemic vaccine doses it ordered, raising questions about a surplus, The Australian newspaper reported today. Though summer flu activity is low in Australia, Health Minister Nicola Roxon and the Australian Medical Association have issued new calls for the public to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, Irish news media reported today that Ireland canceled an order for 3.7 million doses of vaccine from Baxter.
Jan 7 The Australian story

Canada to loan 5 million vaccine doses to Mexico
Canada will loan 5 million doses of H1N1 vaccine to Mexico "to help bridge that country's immediate pandemic vaccine requirements," Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a press release today. Mexico will repay the doses by Mar 31. The release said Mexico has ordered vaccine from several producers, but most of it will not be available until the end of this month. Canada has enough vaccine on hand to meet its needs and make the loan, officials said.
Jan 6 Public Health Agency of Canada statement

Indian doctors request more ventilators for hard-hit city
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has asked the government for 50 ventilators to help hospitals in Ludhiana, the largest city in Punjab state, cope with a surge of pandemic flu patients, the Times of India reported yesterday. Punjab is in northern India. The IMA said only 160 ventilators are currently available and there aren't enough beds and isolation rooms to handle the influx of patients. They warned that lack of proper health facilities could raise the flu death toll.
Jan 5 Times of India story

Rhode Island reports hospital outbreak of H1N1
Seven patients in a state hospital in Rhode Island recently contracted H1N1 flu but have since recovered, according to a report in the Providence (R.I.) Journal. The patients were in the Zambarano Unit of the Eleanor Slater Hospital, located in Burrillville. The outbreak was reported Dec 28, and the state's health department declared it resolved Jan 4. Staff members and other patients on the two floors where the outbreak occurred were treated with oseltamivir.
Jan 6 Providence Journal report

Los Angeles cab drivers offered free vaccine
The nine franchised taxi companies in Los Angeles are offering free H1N1 vaccination to their 3,700 drivers this week, according to an Associated Press report. Norton Medical Industries, a company that tests employees for drugs and alcohol, will administer the shots, the report said. With an increased supply, Los Angeles County recently made the vaccine available to everyone.

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